Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Book Review: I'm ok - you're not

I didn't quite like this book I just finished reading, "I'm ok - you're not" by John Shore.
The book is entertaining enough, the author being a humorist. However, John Shore doesn't seem to encourage a biblical world-view, instead, the author seems to encourage readers to approach people with the human centred world-view.

When the bible is clear on the fact that the world will hate us, Christians, is it too surprising that the unbelievers blame us for our enthusiasm for evangelism? Is it too much of an offence to see non-believers as lost and under the terrible judgement that is to come? Is it that surprising, and must we accuse ourselves, that we engage with the lost with the gospel seeking to seize every opportunity, feeling the great urgency and burden for we have compassion on them?

I can empathise with John in some ways, especially when he says that so many of non-believers have experienced Christians approaching them with no regards to their circumstance, no respect for their dignity, no sensitivity to their problems and struggles. Christians must own that up. We are to engage those unbelievers around us with much respect, for what love is without respect?

But to be pressured so much by what the unbelievers are feeling, and trying to be as natural and smooth as possible in the presentation of the gospel, by not saying a word until they first ask and initiate, for example, I fear that John failed to grasp the hard-cold truth of the offence of the gospel. The gospel is foolishness and stumbling block to a natural man.

I can appreciate John's attempt to reach the lost in a "better" way, that is less offensive and more loving. The point about many Christians approach the unbelievers with an attitude that comes across as condemnation and arrogance is probably mostly valid for many of us. That grieves me too.
But I am strongly against the idea that we ought to simply love them without speaking of the gospel message, until they ask us first. I am strongly against the idea we simply wait till they take the initiatives. I am not saying that we should always, every time we talk to an unbeliever, we must say something about Jesus and present the gospel. What I am saying is that we should be looking to seize every opportunity, if we truly loved them.
I am also strongly against the assumptions John seemed to hold in writing of this book, namely, if we are nicer to people, if we really "love" the unbelievers, they will have a better chance of being interested in the gospel, and even become Christians themselves.
No, when we shut our mouths and be nicer, and show no urgency at all, they may well hear us out and see what we believe, but I don't see how that could be a presentation of the message that convicts sins and calls the dead to repentance. To me, such an idea is abhorrent, for it seems to strip the power of the gospel.

In the end, it is God's doing, as John concurs in the book, that a non-believer is converted. However, we are to learn God's heart and take after it, that is compassionate towards the lost, and work at presenting the gospel, first and foremost by words, AND of course, following up what we preach with our actions, not the other way around.

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